There was a time, until pretty recently actually, when tech mostly minded its own business out on the West Coast. Likewise Washington DC didn’t look to Silicon Valley as a cash cow yet either.
That era, sadly, is now very long gone. Consider that Eric Schmidt, Chairman of Google/Alphabet not only supported Hillary Clinton with money and general support, but actually FOUNDED A COMPANY, Groundwork, that was tasked with getting her elected.
Washington and tech are closely joined these days. Cronyism is widespread.
Technology companies including Facebook Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. spent more than $10 million on federal lobbying in the third quarter, as Washington ratcheted up pressure on issues ranging from child sex-trafficking to Russia’s alleged meddling in the 2016 election.
Amazon spent $3.41 million — its biggest quarter in at least nine years — on tax policy, cloud security and computing, and others, according to lobbying disclosures posted Friday for the three months ending Sept. 30. Facebook spent $2.85 million, while Alphabet Inc.’s Google paid out $4.17 million. Twitter Inc. spent $120,000.
Some Silicon Valley companies are facing fresh scrutiny over how Russian state actors used social networks and online platforms to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Facebook, Twitter and Google will send their top lawyers to Washington to testify in front of congressional committees on Nov. 1. On Thursday, three senators also introduced a bipartisan plan to impose new disclosure requirements for political ads online.
By the way, this last bit has almost nothing to do with “Russians” actually. It is an effort by anti-free speech advocates in DC to try to force ad disclosures generally.